As good marketing becomes increasingly crucial to the success of any company, more and more businesses are seeking out agencies to help them manage communications. However, as many of these businesses realize, finding a good match isn’t as simple as it seems.
No doubt agencies bring about a ton of benefits, but they are also a potential source of conflict. They can be the key to your marketing success, reaping lots of profit and growth for you, but at the same time, we’ve all heard horror stories of failed client-agency relationships that have resulted in angst and losses for everyone involved.
As such, choosing the right agency should be a rigorous process. It’s an important one that could make or break marketing efforts altogether. As tedious and daunting as it seems, we’ve got you. Here’s a quick guide with three tried-and-tested tips for choosing the best agency for you.
Tip #1: Sort out your organization
If you’re sourcing for an agency on behalf of a company, it’s likely that you’re not making the decision alone. Even small businesses have teams to collaborate and do the legwork in researching and choosing an agency.
So when you have a whole group of people with the goal of making a decision, there’s always going to be a variety of opinions, expectations, and priorities. This is true for all kinds of corporate teams — but can play out especially badly in a team that’s tasked to choose an agency. There’s the sheer number of options, for one, as well as the high risk of failure.
As such, the best way to go about it is to set things straight from the get-go. There are at least two things to get straight organizationally. They are:
Without a clear goal or direction, the team won’t know what their purpose is, which leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion and possible miscommunication along the way. Be specific. Instead of generalizing the goal as “to find an agency”, specify what type of agency you’re looking for, and by what deadline. Different agencies have varying strengths, so decide what your company needs and spell it out for everyone.
Picking an agency is a big decision and will put everyone under some stress, especially later on in the process. To ease this part of marketing, make sure that good leadership is established. That way, though everyone will definitely still jostle for their opinion to be heard, there’s a clear weight on those who are more experienced. A tip is to form a small committee of senior-level team members and give them the mandate to decide. This will work much better than leaving the task open-ended to a large junior team.
Tip #2: Start somewhere, not everywhere
The first step to actually getting started on looking for an agency is to have an initial pool of agencies to narrow down from. It’s natural that this initial pool is quite large — but considering anything upwards of 10 agencies is not wise.
In fact, having too many options to start with can cause many issues, such as low efficiency, fatigue, and sloppiness; especially towards the end of the process. It also shows that you or your team have not defined the vision well enough, such that many agencies with totally different strengths make it through the initial selection.
Another big pitfall here is selecting an agency based on brand name alone. Truthfully speaking, looking at brand name is practically useless, other than having some assurance of credibility. Apart from that, all and any work produced will be based on the team you work with, which may or may not live up to the standards you expect.
Price is also something to take note of. Keeping to your budget is one thing, but never try to squeeze the agency to its financial limits with a “take-what-I-can-get” attitude. Not only does it reflect poorly on your company, but you’re also likely to get a watered-down version of the agency’s services for a low price. Instead, opt for agencies with a fair payment scheme and solid HR that ensures employees who deserve the benefits get it.
Ideally, you would want about three to six agencies to consider between. If you’re not sure about which agencies to include in the initial pool, consider asking around in your industry or just search advertising agencies London to get started!
Tip #3: Take a closer look
In the search for an agency, there’s always the temptation to just look at the potential returns as the deciding marker. Some companies even go so far as to only use an agency’s history of successes and failures as the benchmark.
While a track record is important for sure, it shouldn’t carry that much weight. Instead, take a look and study these three factors of any agency you’re considering:
The nature of work that an agency does is one that relies a lot on the sheer talent of its employees. Don’t underestimate the difference between having a mediocre artist and having a brilliant one churn out collateral for you.
Without the right equipment, software or technology needed, an agency’s talent can be rendered useless. In this day and age, it’s rare for an agency not to have industry-standard technology at hand, but it still pays to check. Also, check more thoroughly for equipment that you know you will need specifically for the project you have in mind. For instance, shooting for a magazine means you should ensure the agency has access to a studio, talents, and quality cameras.
Don’t let anyone tell you that an agency’s culture is secondary. In fact, in such an industry that requires high levels of collaboration between both you and the agency as well as within the agency itself, culture is of utmost importance. What makes good work culture differs from person to person, but generally, there are a few red flags to steer clear of. These are things like consistent late responses, lack of cohesiveness, low initiative, and low morale. Good agencies tend to be more unified, with a generally positive disposition.
And there you have it, your three steps to finding the right agency! It’s tedious work for sure, but choosing the right agency can ensure that the client-agency relationship will be a good and long-lasting one. Ultimately, you’re looking for a team to execute your marketing ideas to perfection — so do the legwork and you’ll be all set for a successful campaign.